Twitter's bottled lightning
by Dave Winer Monday, July 18, 2016

Here's proof that the 140-char limit is crippling Twitter.

In 2014 I wrote a blog post about why "coding" is the wrong word for what we do. This was at the beginning of a huge marketing campaign by the government and tech companies to teach "coding" to lots of young people. I said please, let's have them understand at the outset that there's romance where they're headed. A chance to be a maestro, or a creative star. A maker of history. Not a person who codes other people's ideas. Feh. If that's all it were, I probably would still have made it my profession, career, creative outlet, because I love the puzzles and the arrangement of the ideas so they flow more efficiently inside the computer. But there I go off on a flight of fancy, because a coder just codes up other people's ideas. 

I'm sure the execs at the big companies who write the checks hope that developers are so containable, manageable, docile. I've met many of them, and they seem to think that I shouldn't have ideas. Just do that thing we wanted you to do.

Mitch Kapor, a colleague of mine in the early days said we were like Morris the Cat to the VCs and managers. Morris says something, the execs say "nice kitty," give him some cat food and continue with the meeting

Anyway, back to my story.

When I wrote that post two years ago, nothing came back. Because even then no one clicks links. No. One. Clicks. Links. I didn't make that up, I don't wish it would be that way. It just is that way.

So then I had the idea to take a screen shot of a copy of that post, written in a plain text editor in a monospace font to make it look computerish, like an IETF draft or something. Maybe it would look ancient or wise? :-)

It worked. Damn it worked. It's got velocity. People are RTing. It's still nowhere near as famous as the puff pieces about new coders wearing cute hats "hanging" with President (also with a nice hat) being photographically interesting in a TV sitcom way. "Coders" may look like that, but I promise you developers do not. Please. 

Just want to say that Twitter has bottled lightning. The day  it can carry short stories, vignettes, gracefully without screen shots, really exciting things will happen.